The past seven days have been simply riddled with twists and turns concerning the status of a bailout that many said was necessary. The original package presented to Congress by the Bush administration was so fundamentally flawed that it was given little else but a rude reception. Twice now, a modified plan has been laid on the table and after much deliberation, plans have been twice brushed aside.
It becomes increasingly apparent that there is no such thing as a flawless course of action in this instance, but many argue that the cost of inaction will carry the highest price tag. So where does the bailout stand now? Sure, we are basically back at the beginning, but that is no reason to believe that an agreeable deal will not be reached. Some bill opponents experienced a change of mind as early as Monday, when stocks crashed and portfolio values sank sickeningly low. Make no mistake; the big bailout is down, but not out altogether.
Before talks of a sweeping financial rescue plan even began, the government was treating bank failures on a case-by-case basis and it looks as if, at least for the moment, we will continue along that path. This will, of course, lead to further uncertainty in the markets, but it will provide opportunity as well. Regional banks will undoubtedly be subject to the greatest levels of investor scrutiny; we can expect to see bad news drive stock prices down alarmingly quickly, while rumors of government aid could produce the opposite effect.
Congress will give the big bailout another look, with some expecting a plan to pass as soon as this week. Whether or not the deal is speedily reached on a blanket bailout, it is safe to assume that regulation and oversight of our nation’s banking practices stand to increase heavily. Perhaps that is the lesson to be drawn here; irresponsibility on both sides of the lending table is what brought this about. No matter what is done in the end, we will need to change our ways.
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